Upgrade to Windows 11 using Intune Feature Update Deployment Policy

Let’s learn to Upgrade to Windows 11 using Intune Feature Update Deployment Policy. This is the only policy that upgrades Intune managed Windows 10 PCs into Windows 11 version. I have seen many tweets from Aria (MSFT PM) to emphasize the message that your managed devices will NOT automatically upgrade to Windows11.

The only option to upgrade Windows 10 PCs to Windows 11 using WUfB and Intune is the feature update deployment policy. It seems a lot of IT folks are getting confused between the different WUfB policies available in Intune.

First, we all need to understand the difference between Windows 11 and Windows 10 from an update mechanism perspective. The Windows 10 version updates are updates within the same product. However, Windows 11 is a different product, and the upgrade from one product to another is handled differently.

Patch My PC

As per Microsoft, Windows 11 availability can vary depending on the device and how the Windows Update policy is configured. The managed Windows 10 devices will receive the policies from management solutions like Intune. So, this is fully managed by an IT administrator.

Prerequisites for Windows 11 Upgrade using WUfB Feature Updates

Let’s find out the prerequisites for Windows 11 upgrade using WUfB feature updates. The appropriate license should be there Windows 10/11 Enterprise/Education/Virtual Desktop Access or E3 above. Windows Long Term (LTSC) and HOME versions are not supported for WUfB.

  • Should be in Supported version of Windows 10.
  • Should be Intune managed + Hybrid Azure AD joined or Azure AD joined Devices. BYO scenario is not supported.

You will need to have Telemetry turned on with a minimum set to Required. You can configure from Device Restriction policy -> Reporting and Telemetry -> Share Usage Data.

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 Prerequisites for Windows 11 Upgrade using WUfB Feature Updates
Prerequisites for Windows 11 Upgrade using WUfB Feature Updates

You also should have the Microsoft Account Sign-in Assistant (wlidsvc) service running manual triggered. The service should not be disabled otherwise WUfB won’t offer the Windows 11 feature updates.

 Prerequisites for Windows 11 Upgrade using WUfB Feature Updates
Prerequisites for Windows 11 Upgrade using WUfB Feature Updates

Windows 10 to Windows 11 Upgrade using Update ring policy is NOT Possible

The feature update deferral policy is part of the update ring policy, used MAINLY for monthly patching using Intune. The update ring feature deferral policy also helps IT admins control version upgrades of Windows 10. You can use the Intune feature update policy to upgrade from Windows 10 to Windows 11.

NOTE! – Feature Deferrals policies are great for quality updates or to move to a newer version of the same product (for example, from Windows 10, version 20H2 to 21H1).

Windows 10 to Windows 11 Upgrade using Update ring policy is NOT Possible
Windows 10 to Windows 11 Upgrade using Update ring policy is NOT Possible.

There is an Update ring policy for Windows 10 and later, and this is to deploy patches to Windows 10 and Windows 11 PCs.The biggest confusion is between the following two policies in Intune and Windows CSPs.

  • Feature update deferral period (days) policy – Update Ring
  • Feature Deployment policy – Feature Update Deployment

Feature update deferral period (days) – This policy is to defer feature updates for the specified number of days. The allowed value is between 0-365 days. This policy is only applicable for Windows 10 version upgrades within the same product line.

Windows 11 Feature Update Deployment Policy for Upgrade

You will need to use a feature update deployment policy for Windows 11 upgrade. The reason for that is it’s a product upgrade (Windows 10 to Windows 11), unlike Windows 10 version upgrade within the same product. The following table gives you a more clear understanding of the different policies.

Learn how to upgrade to Windows 11 using an Intune feature update deployment policy. This is what is explained in this post. This is the only Windows Update for Business policy.

WUFB Policy NameType of PolicyResult
Feature update deferral period (days) policy Update RingUpgrade versions within the same Products (for example, Windows 10 21H1 to 21H2)
Feature Deployment Settings policyFeature Update DeploymentMigrate a Device from one product to another (Windows 10 to Windows 11)
Feature Update Deferral Period (Day) PolicyUpdate RIngUpgrade versions within the same Products (for example, Windows 11 21H2 to 22H2)
Table WUfB Policy Name – Windows 11 Feature Update Deployment Policy

Upgrade to Windows 11 using Intune Feature Update Deployment Policy

You will need to create a feature update deployment policy from Intune portal to upgrade your eligible Windows 10 PCs to Windows 11. The Windows 11, version 21H2 drop-down option is NOW available in Feature Deployment Settings.

Intune Feature Update Deployment Policy is the only WUfB policy configured through Intune helps IT admins upgrade to Windows 11 from Windows 10. You can select the feature deployment settings from the drop-down list.

  • Login to MEM Admin Center endpoint.microsoft.com
  • Navigate to Devices – Feature updates for Windows 10 and later (Preview)
  • Click on +Create Profile.
  • Enter the Name of the Policy and Description.
  • Feature deployment settings – Feature Update to deploy-> Windows 11
Windows 11 Feature Update Deployment Policy for Upgrade
Windows 11 Feature Update Deployment Policy for Upgrade

You should not use Windows 11 Azure AD device group to deploy this policy (of course!). However, you will need to use Windows 10 Intune filter rules or (filter is not available for feature update policy while writing this post). Windows 10 AAD groups to upgrade Windows 10 devices to Windows 11 operating system. Search and select the AAD Device Group – Devices in that group will get upgraded to Windows 11.

Windows 11 Feature Update Deployment Policy
Windows 11 Feature Update Deployment Policy

There was a known issue with Windows 11 Feature deployment settings in Intune. I can confirm that this issue is already fixed for my Intune tenant. So, you can try this again if you faced any issues before.

Upgrade to Windows 11 using Intune Feature Update Deployment Policy 1
Upgrade to Windows 11 using Intune Feature Update Deployment Policy 10

Windows 11 Feature Updates Scheduling Options – Coming Soon

You will get an option to schedule Windows 11 upgrade (Intune feature update policy). This is the most welcome change announced back in Microsoft Ignite (a year before?).

The Windows 11 Intune feature update will allow admins to granularly Rollout Windows 11 operating system in the coming days. As per Microsoft, This will replace the deferral options in Update rings and makes it much easier to schedule a rollout versus needing to calculate the required deferral days based on the publish date of the update. Intune feature update will have the following Rollout Options.

  • Make Update available as soon as possible
  • Make Update available on a Specific Date
  • Make Update Available Gradually

When you select the “Make Update available on a Specific Date” option, the Windows 11 upgrade will start on the defined date as per admin configuration.

 Windows 11 Feature Updates Scheduling Options - Coming Soon
Windows 11 Feature Updates Scheduling Options – Coming Soon

Another granular option that will be made available in the feature update policy is a start and end date configuration.

When would you like to make the update available in Windows Updates? You can configure the start date of the Windows 11 upgrade and the end date of an upgrade as well. This makes Windows feature updates gradual availability Gradually – This means you will get options to define the start and end date for Windows 11 upgrade from Windows 10.

First group availability -> 01/01/2022
Final Group availability -> 01/29/2022
Days between groups -> 7 Days

NOTE! – As per Microsoft, they will use Telemetry data (keeping GDPR in consideration) to span out the upgrades within the start and end dates.

Upgrade to Windows 11 using Intune Feature Update Deployment Policy 2
Windows 11 Feature Updates Scheduling Options – Coming Soon

Coming Soon Update Ring for Windows 10 to Windows 11 Upgrades

This is another helpful option to get into the latest version of Windows 11 from Windows 10. The Update Ring option is still not available. But this option will help to upgrade all Windows 10 PCs to the latest version of Windows 11.

Windows Update Ring policy in Intune will help If devices are on Windows 10, and you will need to upgrade to the newest version of the Windows 11 22H2 instead of the Windows 11 21H2 version.

Upgrade to Windows 11 using Intune Feature Update Deployment Policy 3
Upgrade to Windows 11 using Intune Feature Update Deployment Policy 11

Author

About Author -> Anoop is Microsoft’s Most Valuable Professional Award winner from 2015 on the technologies! He is a Solution Architect on enterprise device management solutions with more than 20 years of experience (calculation done in 2021) in IT. He is Blogger, Speaker, and Local User Group Community leader. His main focus is on Device Management technologies like Configuration Manager, Windows 365 Cloud PC, Intune, Azure Virtual Desktop, Windows 10, and Windows 11.

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